Waves of COVID: 4 Critical Steps to Accelerate out of the Pandemic

Kiran Wood



Strategy development and alignment, insight (commercial, organisational and consumer), brand and proposition development, design thinking, coaching.

A supercharged team I have been a part of

‘Broaden the appeal of English rugby union,’ said the RFU, ‘from elite game audiences to grass roots participation’. A wide-reaching challenge needed a wide-reaching team. One of the most disparate I’ve worked with, it included the RFUs CEO, a school sports instructor, players, a journalist, a fanatic, a sponsor, a tv producer, and me (a young woman who’d never played rugby).

Though daunting, it helped me learn how to unify people from different universes with conflicting views, and that providing clear direction for people’s passion is monumentally powerful. We created a 20% uplift in tv audiences, increased gate receipts, grew school participation and more and 18 months later we won the rugby world cup for the first time (sadly, I take zero credit for that).

Business Highlights

Director of Innovation & Partner | What If Innovation

Led the brand and innovation practice delivering successful new products and reversing declining brands for the likes of Samsung, Unilever, Astra Zeneca, CNN International, IHG and Waitrose.

Planning Director | LoweBrand

Led the development of commercially successful brand strategy for clients as diverse as Stella Artois, BUPA, the RFU and Nestle.

Senior Planner & Account Director | Guinness / Brann Worldwide

Accountable to the Guinness GB board, engineered a major strategic shift to consumer experience and digital engagement, delivering unprecedented growth in key target groups.

Why I love what I do

Access to the inner workings of large complex organisations is a hugely engaging privilege. I love making sense of what’s happening beyond the rhetoric – commercially, culturally, and with consumers. (Science shows that uncovering insight delivers a dopamine hit – maybe that’s why.)

I believe great insight is the cornerstone of great strategy. Moreover, it should help provide the unity and conviction to deliver. Helping organisations (by that I mean its people) stride confidently through that journey is worth all the energy.

A business result I’m proud of

I love working with retailers – the invigorating commercial immediacy of every decision. So, helping Waitrose deliver excellence in a small store format, at a time when ‘supermarket small store’ meant distress shopping, was a challenge I relished.

Part of a crack team, I helped deliver a customer experience driven blueprint, encapsulating everything from a shopper insight-led layout to principles for lines to stock. The innovative small store was rolled out over 400 sites at lightning speed, and remains Waitrose’ most commercially successful format.